Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Foggy Riverwood Morning

It is very foggy here at the farm this morning and that makes for a snugly wrapped feeling around me today. That is the only way to describe it - snugly wrapped - warm, cozy and safe.

As soon as the coffee dripped into the pot this morning, I took a steaming mug of it over to the kitchen window and sipped the warm creamy brew while I looked out over the land south of the house. Mmmmm, those first few sips of coffee are always the most delicious aren't they?

As I stood there gazing out the window, I was amazed to discover that I couldn’t see anything past Raspberry Hill Gate. The trees rimming Fourpaw Pasture were all dressed in gauzy mist and Elisarben Meadow was covered with a wispy white blanket. It was so beautiful and peaceful and...gentle. Yes, gentle is the word I want. That is how the morning seemed to me. I stood at the window for the longest time, sipping my coffee and feeling that gentle mood seep into my soul as palpably as the coffee seeped into my body.

The beauty of this place feeds my spirit and speaks to me in ways that nothing else can. I absolutely love it here and am never ready to leave no matter how long my stay has been. We have been here a month now, and must go home at the end of the week but I am just not ready to leave. Sigh.

Oh, I do love this old farm. We had such a great time this past weekend with my sister and her husband. Rain threatened most days, but not much fell and we even had some sunshine peek through the clouds from time to time. What an absolute treat this weather is for late October.

My sister and I gabbed the weekend away as we walked along the forest paths, or sat in the cozy old farmhouse with cups of tea, or relaxed on the Friendship Bench down at the swimming hole and drank in the beauty of the pine trees on the far shore of the river, reflected in the still water. We talked to our heart's content and it was rich, rich, rich. We shared the hopes and dreams we have for our kids along with the hopes and dreams we have for ourselves, and voiced to each other the fears we both had when she faced surgery this year.

She was told at the end of June that she might have ovarian cancer, and was sent for tests. The tests came back positive for cancer but she had to wait until September for her surgery to find out for sure. They couldn’t even do a biopsy before then. Goodness that was a long time to wait. What a relief we all felt when we were told after the surgery that it wasn’t cancer even though the pre-surgery tests said it was. Oh, such a dark path that was to walk, for all of us. That dark experience makes this path in the sunshine all the brighter and more wonderful now though. We basked in that sunshine this weekend, and I kept hugging my sister to make sure she was really there and we were celebrating. I was so grateful that she was ok and wasn’t facing chemotherapy and radiation and who knows what else. We walked around with big grins on our faces and enjoyed every minute of our time together. What a gift this weekend visit was! We were lost in the fog of uncertainty and fear for so long this past summer, but emerged into the sunshine of good news this fall and rejoiced in that sunshine during this weekend.

If you are walking through the fog of uncertainty and fear in your life today, I hope you feel the gentle spirit in the middle of it, and find some comfort in that. Be kind and patient with yourself as you wait for the sunshine to break through the mist. It is there, even though you can't see it or feel it right now. Hang on, it will shine again.


Lynn said...

I received your e-mail about the election. I have been anxiously waiting for over a year to vote the Bush adminsistration out of office. I'll be at the polling place when it opens. It's going to be close, but I have not given up the faith. America really needs Kerry to win this thing.

Lynn said...

The voting system in the US is rather chaotic because each state determines voter registration, polling places, and ballot method and design. I have been fortunate while living in downtown Chicago because my polling place is in the building next door to where I live.

Voter registration has been a big issue in this year’s election. With the big expected turnout and new registrations, many locations have experienced long lines of people trying to register.

The other big issue has been the abuse of early voting. This process has been subject to political manipulation in some states such as Florida. The process in Florida has been designed to discourage the African-American vote. Pre-November 2 voting places have been minimal and inconvenient in heavily African-American counties in Florida.

The new computerized voting systems have caused a lot of controversy since most of them do not have an adequate paper trail and audit. Most machines do not print out the result of a voter’s selections at the time they leave the booth.

The paper ballots in many states remain very confusing to a lot of people. The Illinois ballots are straight forward compared to most states.

Another new wrinkle this year is the provisional ballot. Those voters who go to a polling place and are not allowed to vote for whatever reason are allowed to cast a provisional ballot which may or may not be counted.

As an experiment, I decided to search the Cook County, Chicago voter Web site to look up my polling place. I put in my address and the system could not find it even though I live right next door to my polling place. I decided to call the voter registration office just to see how long the wait would be before somebody answered. I was put on hold for over 15 minutes, so I hung up.

Suffice it to say, many experts predict a lot of litigation and court battles before the election is over. I would like to see a few folks from Congress go to Canada to see what a more humane and sane voting process looks like!

The arcane electoral college method of selecting a President has become very controversial too. The problem with it is that it over represents sparsely populated states such as Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho while grossly under representing big states like California. This gives a big advantage to Republicans since their major strength is in the small western and southern states.

I am surprised to hear that you could not find an internationally famous poet like Machado at your library. But at the large central downtown Chicago library I often cannot find a famous international poet for whom I am looking.

The title of the Milosz international poetry anthology is indeed A Book of Luminous Things. The anthology turned me onto a lot of great international poets. I received my first introduction to the ancient Chinese poets and the great Polish poets of the 20th century from it. I have explored both groups over the past several years and really like many of them. It also has a great representation of American poets too. One of your favorites, Mary Oliver, is represented.

I know the collected poems of Ray Carver will always be one of my favorite books. Once I learned a little of his biography and how he triumphed over his demons, it added even more poignancy to the poems.

I have really enjoyed your postings from the farm. Your writing has been so vivid that it has conjured many pleasant memories and imaginations.